Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs to the Committee For Programme And Coordination
New York, 19 June 2008

I have the honour and privilege to introduce to this important Committee the strategic framework for 2010-2011 for the programme on economic and social affairs.

My Department, DESA, serves as the custodian of the United Nations development agenda. Our central objective is achieving development for all.

I know that Member States have increasingly high expectations of support from DESA. The demand is greater than ever, for our assistance in global agenda-setting and decision-making on development issues, and for our analytical products and policy advice.

It is our job to do anything and everything that the intergovernmental process wants us to do: support intergovernmental debates and negotiations; facilitate understanding of new development challenges; ensure that UN actors complement each other; and undertake targeted capacity development.

As the Department’s head, I also serve as Convener of the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs, which brings together all the Secretariat entities that deal with development. We have embarked on this strategic framework exercise together, through consultations within ECESA on how to increase coherence and exploit synergies in the Secretariat’s economic and social activities.

The development mandates and responsibilities of the Secretariat have grown considerably, especially with the follow-up to the 2005 World Summit and the additional new mandates and responsibilities acquired since then. This will affect the work of DESA and its ECESA partners now and into 2010-2011. Our consultations on this front are reflected in the report of the Secretary-General (A/62/708) on strengthening the development pillar of the Secretariat and improving its effective and efficient delivery of development mandates.

For DESA, our guiding objective in these exercises is to create a more coherent, focused, flexible and results-oriented Department, able to respond to the evolving and emerging needs of Member States.

This means we are ever mindful not to duplicate the work of others. We consult regularly with our ECESA colleagues to strengthen synergies and coherence in the work of the development pillar. And we root our proposals for future work in a firm understanding of the complex multi-stakeholder environment in which we operate, with UN system partners and non-UN partners, including civil society and private sector organizations.

It also means an enhanced focus on strategic planning, as a critical way to improve efficiency in our use of resources, and to strengthen coherence and responsiveness.

A major thrust of the strategic framework before you is more strategic implementation of the development agenda. This in turn demands quality analysis of cross-cutting issues, such as climate change, the development-conflict nexus, innovative financing, international migration and development, violence against women, and indigenous issues, as well as support to national development strategies to achieve the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals. It also entails our ongoing efforts to identify, analyze and promote consensus on the economic policies and actions necessary at national and international levels to improve long-term development prospects.

We need to strengthen our normative and policy support to the intergovernmental processes, especially for the new responsibilities of the Economic and Social Council and in the area of financing for development.

The first Annual Ministerial Review, held in 2007 and focused on poverty reduction and global partnerships, has shown that the Review is a major global mechanism to assess progress made in implementation of the MDGs. This year’s focus is on sustainable development and next year’s will be on global health. The Review will continue to provide significant contributions to scaling-up and accelerating action to realize the development agenda.

The Development Cooperation Forum, with its first session to take place here in New York in a few weeks, will become the first global platform where all actors have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue on key policy issues and trends affecting the quality and impact of development cooperation. Both new functions will enhance the Council’s effectiveness as the central instrument for policy coordination and coherence within the UN system.

Leading the multi-stakeholder monitoring and implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, and promoting coherence within the United Nations on issues related to financing for development, is a top priority of the programme. The outcome at year’s end of the Doha Review Conference, which will also consider new challenges and emerging issues since Monterrey, will have a significant effect on our work in the next biennium.

The preparations for Doha are well underway and should be enriched by the outcomes of the other major events yet to take place this year – not only the AMR and DCF, but also the G8 Summit in Japan, the Accra High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, and the High-level Event on the MDGs, to be convened jointly by the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, with DESA leading the substantive support.

To support the accountability and monitoring mechanisms at the intergovernmental level, requires enhanced monitoring capacity. Member States look to DESA as the only entity in the UN system that can provide guidance on all MDG monitoring issues, and how to produce and analyze the data.

DESA will continue to provide leadership in sustainable development. Recent intergovernmental activity in the areas of food security, climate change, energy, small island developing states, and sustainable consumption and production has challenged the programme to upgrade its capacity to support Member States’ efforts on sustainable development issues. We will also play a critical role in facilitating implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests and supporting efforts to achieve the shared global objectives on forests.

The programme will continue advancing the global agenda on gender equality and the empowerment of women, as an end in itself and as an essential contribution to achieving the MDGs. This will include intensified efforts to support Governments in tackling the scourge of violence against women – a violation of human rights and significant constraint on development.

We will seek to further strengthen the international community’s capacity to effectively address current and emerging population issues, including fertility, mortality, HIV/AIDS, urbanization, population growth and population ageing, as well as international migration and development.

We will continue to strengthen international cooperation and enhance national capacity to address poverty eradication, employment generation and social integration. In line with the development agenda’s emphasis on inclusion and attention to the needs of the most vulnerable, due regard will be given to issues relating to older persons, persons with disabilities, family, youth, and indigenous peoples.

Given the strong nexus between peace and development, the programme will enhance its focus on public administration reconstruction and reform processes. It will continue to promote greater awareness in key substantive areas of public administration, including e-governance, capacity-building and promotion of professionalism and ethics in the public sector, and the use of information and communication technology in government and resource management.

Finally, we will carry forward our effort to streamline and strengthen the delivery of DESA policy advice and analytical products to Member States. Here, our objective is to meet the growing demand for assistance in translating global commitments into national policies and action, in the specific areas where we are best placed to make an impact.

In concluding, let me reiterate that the overall objective of programme 7 will remain the promotion and support of international cooperation in the pursuit of sustained economic growth, the eradication of poverty and hunger, and sustainable development for all. I look forward to the dialogue on the strategic framework.

Thank you.